HARTFORD -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is sounding the alarm about the projected solvency of Connecticut's transportation account, warning the state may not have the money to pay for many road and bridge improvement projects.
He says lawmakers must take steps to replenish the Special Transportation Fund, impacted by a loss in gas tax revenue, a shift to more fuel-efficient vehicles, increased debt payments and other factors.
The Democrat's administration released a 10-page report on Thursday that highlights how the Special Transportation Fund is projected be in deficit for a number of years beginning in 2019. The report includes a long list of projects potentially at risk throughout Connecticut.
Malloy says higher bus and rail fares, staff reductions and cutbacks in highway maintenance, including snow-plowing, could be imposed if nothing is done.
“For too long, Connecticut put off the tough choices necessary for making critical investments in our state’s transportation system and growing our economy – and now the bill is coming due,” Governor Malloy said.
Malloy added, “Today we are at a crossroads, and a decision must be made: will we cancel important projects and let our roads and bridges deteriorate, or will we endeavor to face these problems head on and find new ways to support our transportation system. My position remains clear: transportation is critical to our economic success and simply cutting our way out of this would be catastrophic to our state. As we prepare to enter a new year, I will encourage and facilitate continued dialogue with my fellow leaders in state government to ensure that action is taken, and taken soon.”
Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz released the following statement:
“Maintaining and updating our outdated transportation infrastructure is critical to our future economy and a top priority of our business community, which is why we passed a transportation funding ‘lockbox’ and began to divert a portion of the sales tax for this purpose.
I still believe a modern electronic toll system and less reliance on the gas tax has to be part of the equation to help get us back on track in the long term, and intend to have a vote on tolls this upcoming session. It makes no sense, and isn’t fair to Connecticut taxpayers, that we provide a freeway to the large amount of out of state traffic that passes through, while all of us pay every time we cross the border into surrounding states.”
***Associated Press contributed to this report***